The severe drought that has gripped much of the western half of the United States in spring and summer is likely to continue at least into late fall, government forecasters said Thursday. The outlook for September through November, prepared by meteorologists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, suggests that above-average temperatures are likely across almost all of the West, except for Washington and parts of Idaho, Montana and North Dakota. Precipitation is expected to be below normal from the Southwest into the Rockies and the Northern Plains. Together that spells bad news for a part of the country that is already experiencing major effects of drought, including dwindling water supplies, stunted crops, barren grazing lands and exploding wildfires. “For a lot of the western U.S., we are expecting drought to persist,” said Matthew Rosencrans, a NOAA meteorologist, during a teleconference with reporters. According to the United States Drought […]